TRUSTECH 2019 – A Re-Focussed Event: Payments, Identification, Security
Posted on 14th December 2019 at 16:09
This year’s TRUSTECH had a different feel to it and I felt it was better for it. It was more compact and my impression of it was that it had re-focussed around its three core themes: Payments, Identification and Security.
There were perhaps less exhibitors than in the previous year but the number of visitors attending the event appeared to be up and several leading vendors returned with a presence again in a dedicated sponsors zone upstairs by the conference rooms. Overall, I believe the show was well received and provides an alternative to some of the larger events where security (in all its guises) is a secondary consideration to the main theme, e.g. mobile, IoT, finance.
My main involvement was on the Innovation Stage where I had been working in advance to arrange and manage the program and content with the participating exhibitors. Most of the presentations were the quick-fire pitches, providing exhibitors five minutes to introduce and highlight their latest developments, products, platforms and services. These were accompanied in the afternoons with more detailed Industry Insights, giving deeper insight into market requirements, trends and the future outlook.
We had a good cross-section of companies participating, from start-ups and fast-growing companies, such as LOQR, MoreFun and Panthronics, through to multi-national vendors, such as Infineon, INGroupe, Linxens, NXP, STMicroelectronics and Quectel. The pitching sessions were arranged by category and included: POS, Payments + Banking, Africa Payments + Identity, eID Authentication + Digital Identity, Cybersecurity + Data Security, Cards Components + Materials. These were accompanied by the industry insights around Payments, Biometrics + Mobile and Trusted Identity + Consumer Interactions.
Different Approaches Provide Choice + Flexibility
Whichever sector was being talked about, it was clear that there is not one single approach being pursued. Yes, standards are important and provide a basis for interoperability, so this is not in dispute. However, it was also apparent from the innovation being promoted and discussed that companies are enabling flexibility and choice within a secure, standardised environment for their partners, service providers and end-users.
For example, in the POS/retail space Rubean is enabling the acceptance of card payments with its phonePOS solution, opening up the market for the 42 million merchants who do not currently have this capability (but they do have smartphones). DSpread was promoting a dedicated mobile POS unit and MoreFun was promoting its latest POS terminal for small/micro merchants. Between them these companies offer a choice to acquirers and networks to help them accept card and mobile payments in the most suitable and cost effective way possible, tailored to both the type and volume of payments. Meanwhile other companies, including Panthronics and ID Tech, were highlighting the advances in the latest technology and user experiences.
Customer Experience as Important as Technology
Cards are a very well-established and known quantity and for 10 years or more now we have been hearing from some parts of the industry that “cards are dead”. Personally, I do not see that happening in the foreseeable future. If only for the practical reason that we will continue to require cards and printed credentials for redundancy purposes, should a phone or digital identity be lost of compromised. As such, the past two years has seen renewed effort to innovate in the field of cards and documents. They can be metal, plastic or paper, with dynamic CVV, with fingerprint sensors, with Bluetooth, and feature the latest anti-counterfeiting and authentication solutions. Linxens and STMicroelectronics were two of the companies promoting their biometric card capabilities on stage with others showing their components and commercially-ready samples within the exhibition.
All of this demonstrates that it is no longer a plain-old smart card that we are looking to use now and in the future. Smart cards can be customised, be standalone solutions or work in partnership with a digitally-derived credential, as highlighted by DualAuth, GET Group, INGroupe and HID Global, serving mobile payments, mobile ID, digital identity and digital ticketing respectively. Again, it is about offering choice and flexibility to best suit the service and enhancing the customer-experience for various demographics rather than insisting that one-size fits all.
Standards Provide a Framework for Security
Standards continue to play a key role, as long as they are more about enablement and not viewed as restrictive. For example, the lack of standards and high levels of fragmentation can be seen to be causing delays and issues in the IoT and smart home sectors with regard to implementing better levels of security, whereas they have generally boosted adoption of payments (cards, contactless and mobile) and identity.
Feitian Technologies highlighted how adoption and development of FIDO standards has helped it develop its new secure token, offering various modes for passwordless authentication, in partnership with Microsoft. Similarly, standards have helped DigiCert promote best-practice for securing the IoT with PKI infrastructure and certificates and Infineon and NXP talked of how they are using existing identity and security standards to enable new embedded credentials for the identification and authentication of connected devices in this field too. Hopefully this will see a reduction in the fragmentation affecting some markets and allow faster and simpler adoption of security in fast-developing fields within the IoT, from the home to the office, in our cars and transportation and in the field for more industrial and enterprise solutions.
Combining New Technologies and Best Practice
Data security, privacy, device security and best practice for IoT security were all discussed and presented by Digicert, Darktrace, Filing Box, Multos and OneTrust. A combination of new and established solutions being applied to improve security and protect our data, infrastructure and services were all key aspects of their pitches. These included AI, physical protection, use of PKI infrastructure and certificates, smart use of data and an update on guidelines and regulations.
Overall, I left TRUSTECH 2019 feeling that the additional insight gained on the latest developments from the participating companies showed that companies are working to address barriers within the market and offer choices to partners and end-users to enable more secure, more user-friendly and more environmentally-friendly products, devices and services. I will be back in Cannes next year and look forward to again seeing the innovation in relation to payments, identification and security.
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